Simply the best!
In November 2005 my wife and I went on the Orion, the first (and last) cruise ship to visit Dili in East Timor. It was a fantastic experience and all aspects were exceptionally good. Since then we have been on several more, through the Solomons and on her sister ship to Borneo - all unforgettable experiences.
They aren't cheap though and starting at about $1600 a night for a cabin, plus the cost of your drinks, it is something we plan on carefully and about every 2 years. We wait til they have a last minute offer. Last couple of times we hav...e been able to get half price deals through a friend now at Clean Cruising who notifies us as soon as they come out and handles the bookings etc for us. But last time we had about 2 weeks notice so just have to be prepared to take off at short notice & makes them affordable for us anyway. The fellow passengers are always a good bunch, except when there are media people on board and they tend to take over things but even on this small ship there are plenty of places to chill out. This is a perfectly maintained ship with a very attentive, cheerful crew right down to the bar staff who know your first names and favourite drink from day one. The food is superb, whether fine dining or al fresco BBQ, just get spoilt rotten and we love it! But it IS about the destinations and it is something else to visit a remote island village for the first time ever from a ship of any type.. Too much happening everyday, announcements and briefings and not much time to rest up in between. And it is NOT geared for fishing OR diving except on expensive side trips. Should provide affordable drinks packages as it can quickly blow your budget too.
When MV Orion arrived on the scene in 2005, she set the cat among the pigeons with established operators. There is no doubt that the 2005-built luxury vessel offers a new level in onboard facilities. More akin to a conventional cruise ship, she has a small gym, boutique, library and fancy dining room, thereby appealing to folks who are used to the cruise ship experience but want to extend themselves to destinations not visited by the big ships. For example Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, wider Melanesia and remote Indonesia feature on Orion's iti...neraries. If you are frustrated with the limited offerings from the big vessels, Orion is worth your attention. (www.adventurecruiseguide.com) Orion is at the softer end of expedition cruising, thereby making some previously inaccessible destinations available to people who would never have considered them. More comfortable at sea and with superior onboard appointments to her competitors, Orion is introducing more people to the fascinating world of adventure cruising. While there is little to criticise Orion's onboard facilities, dining and superior staterooms, Orion may need to catch up with the other operators who also deliver the shore excursions. Rubber Zodiacs, while robust and reliable, can be uncomfortable for extended tours and boarding can be tricky for mobility challenged passengers.
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